The Prince of Wales is a “countryman to his very core” and it is where he “finds true peace”, the Duchess of Cornwall has written in a personal tribute to her husband.
Camilla, who guest edited Country Life magazine to mark her 75th birthday, selected her decades-long partner Charles as one of her rural heroes in an article she penned for the publication.
The duchess described the countryside as an integral part of the future king’s “heart and soul” and paid tribute to his vast knowledge of and support for rural affairs.
“My husband is a countryman to his very core. It’s the place where he is most happy and relaxed, an integral part of his heart and soul,” Camilla wrote.
“Whether he’s hedge-laying in the pouring rain, striding, like a mountain goat, up impossibly steep Highland hills, planting trees in the arboretum or pruning at Highgrove, this is where he finds true peace.”
The prince, the nation’s longest serving heir apparent in history, carries out hundreds of royal engagements each year and has long sought solace in rural life.
The duchess hailed the prince as being “fluent in the rural tongue” and “tramping every inch” of the countryside, and told of his “deep and enduring love for all things bucolically British”.
She wrote: “His knowledge comes not only from books, but from hard-won experience, tramping every inch of the countryside, from north to south, east to west, talking, listening, supporting and celebrating. He’s fluent in the rural tongue.
“Dry-stone wallers and crofters, shepherds and weavers, cheesemakers, stick-whittlers, potters and blacksmiths – he is their champion and public voice, a passionate advocate of all things rural.”
In a behind-the-scenes ITV documentary charting her editorship, the duchess confessed she found it difficult to write about Charles.
“It’s not easy to write about your husband. I bit through several pencils,” she remarked.
Camilla also wrote a leader for the magazine, which is celebrating its 125th year, and told of her own strong bond with the UK’s natural environment.
“My parents brought me up to have a profound sense of being at home in the countryside,” she said.
But the duchess also warned of the “darker side” of life in rural Britain, including crime, suicide, and domestic abuse in isolated areas.
“This idyll sadly has a darker side,” Camilla, a fervent campaigner against domestic violence, said.
“On these pages, I have sought also to explore challenging subjects: the ever-increasing rise in rural crime, the struggles faced by family farms that can, tragically, result in suicide, and the uniquely difficult circumstances of those experiencing domestic abuse in remote areas.
“The latter is a cause that is particularly close to my heart: I know that physical isolation is often used to advantage by perpetrators and that victims in rural areas find it harder to reach out to seek help, especially in close-knit communities where everyone knows one another and where support services might be more limited.
“Crucially, however, there is hope and there are steps that each one of us, whatever our circumstances, can take to help. All of us can have a role to play both in listening and in speaking out about this too-often hidden crime.”
The duchess was photographed by the Duchess of Cambridge, walking through forget-me-nots and sitting on a bench with a trug full of flowers at Camilla’s country home Raymill in Wiltshire for the magazine.
The special royal guest-edited issue of Country Life by the duchess is published on Wednesday July 13.
The documentary Camilla’s Country Life will be screened on Wednesday at 9pm on ITV and ITV Hub.